This blog will follow Southern Diva, known as Lola, as she transitions into her new life post racetrack.
Lola is a 2014 Dark Bay Thoroughbred mare who started her career on the track a bit older than most Thoroughbreds. She had her first Published workout in November of 2017 as a 3 year old and raced only 4 times as a 4 year old. She was not successful as a racehorse and was retried in September 2018.
Lola was retired from the track and given to a trainer who then brought Lola to her farm to let down. She had her racing plates pulled and was turned out with a herd of horses. When I brought Lola home a month later, she was under weight and appeared to have been picked on by some of the herd with some marks to show for it. It also appears she had been trimmed rather flat by the farrier with a lovely bit of nail for me to find in her hoof wall.
I began implementing a new forage based diet with balanced vitamins and minerals for Lola to help improve her health and weight and will be using Scoot Boots to help keep her comfortable as she grows in a better sole. She will also spend time turned out with her new friends, our Miniature Therapy Horses Oscar and Oliver, to build her confidence in a "herd" environment.
Most of the thoroughbreds I have taken off the track still have their racing plates on or have only had them pulled (no trim), they also usually have thrush. I like to pull their plates and give them a light file leaving some wall all the way around as their soles are not used to making any contact with the ground and are usually quite thin. I then rasp their walls to keep them round every few days as the hoof begins to change and use Scoots to protect their soles and walls from damage.
This gives the hooves a transition period and keeps the horse comfortable to encourage their movement during turnout. It also allows their hoof to adjust more naturally and at its own pace to being barefoot.
The thrush I treat with a product called Grooms Hand and keep their hooves dry by bedding their stall deeply with shavings when they are inside. I will be slowly adding more hand walking with Lola on different surfaces with her Scoots and barefoot to begin to build a callous and she will be turned out on soft ground to continue to encourage movement. I have found that the use of Scoot Boots, especially at the beginning stages of transitioning from shod to barefoot has had a considerable effect in the comfort and speed with which my horses transition to barefoot. We have work to do to fix Lola's under-run heels and bell shaped hooves but I am excited to see the changes in the next weeks and months!
Lola has a very sweet and loving personality and I am looking forward to seeing how that translates to under saddle work in the future. For this month we will be focusing on building her weight, starting to address her hooves and spending time building a trusting relationship on the ground.
Stay tuned for the next chapter as I continue to ease her into her new life away from the racetrack!
Kallie currently rides and competes her horses in Scoots in Michigan, Ohio and Kentucky. Kallie Zeinstra has been involved with horses since she was born and began competing with her horses at the age of 9 and training professionally at 13. She is an avid barefoot enthusiast and spends her time assisting horses in their transition from shod to barefoot. Having worked with numerous breeds of horses in the last 20 years in Dressage, Western, English, Field Hunting, Mounted Archery, Eventing and Trail, she now spends her time transitioning Thoroughbreds off the track in OTTB to new disciplines, training horses for clients and competing her Birdie and Percheron Baxter in Dressage and Eventing as well as Equine Therapy work with her Miniature horse Oliver.
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